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tv   C-SPAN Weekend  CSPAN  December 19, 2010 6:00am-7:00am EST

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1 pa -- ron paul will outline his agenda regarding the federal reserve. that is on newsmakers at 10:00 today on c-span. >> there is a case where the obama administration is trying to create new law through changing the interpretation of existing law. >> see with the journalists have said about wikileaks.
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this is washington your way. .
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so it's quite a special event. >> how is it that you go in as leader? who determines that? >> the prime minister. and you go in as leader even as in most cases the party doesn't have a majority. but he has a role in running the house, which is respected by everybody. but he still has his political battles to fight as well. you know, the latter audience may not remember the previous interviews, but i want to run a little clip of the one we did in 1988 because it tells a little bit of a story that they should know about you. >> an ira bomb went off which was designed to blow up the british government and i was
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unfortunately in a bedroom which was very near to the bomb. my wife was killed instantly. there were four other people killed and a lot of people wounded and i was really very badly wounded. and it was 7 hours under the rubble before they managed to dig me out. i don't think anybody else was under for more than about three hours. but they got me out alive, just about, and i had a long time in hospital and then i had to set to and rebuild my life. >> go back to when that happened, please. >> well, i was fortunate enough, i got married again fairly soon afterwards. it was a great friend of my first wife's. and i have one more son. so three sons. and we have just celebrated our silver wedding, my second wife
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and i. so 25 years ago since that happened. and so i have rebuilt my life in that sense and i have a wonderful family around me which helped. i still have trouble with my legs where they were crushed. i was in hospital just a few days ago where every now and then i get a flareup. but they can sort it out. so that's that side of it hasn't completely cured. but the human spirit does recover and i was lucky. >> what year was this? >> this would have been 194r8. so it was just over 25 years ago when the bomb occurred. and that's the i.r.a.? >> correct. and of course a lot happened in the political scene as well. so far as they are concerned and we are trying to work together with them in northern ireland and with some success,
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too. >> are you surprise that there's no more of the bombings going on? >> well, there are still a small element who i think would like to try and get the bombings going again. but they've not got much popular support even with the elements in irish society that would have been in favor of basically united ireland. so i think so far things are reasonably under control. but, you know, it's been a lot of hard work gradually getting things going again. >> that was a party event, the conservative party meeting? >> it was the annual convention basically. yes. >> how many people were killed? >> five people were killed in the hotel i was in. it was -- because i was the government chief whip at the time i was next room to mrs. thatcher. it was mrs. thatcher no doubt they were after but the bomb went off in the room above and i fell four stories in the
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hotel. so they dug me out seven hours later from the hotel. and the only reason i survived was really luck. a girder from the hotel came down and stopped the hotel crushing me, stopped the rubble crushing me, and the springs of a bed gave me enough air to keep me going. but it was a pretty horrendous thing. ands there one little story about it which is very interesting. what i didn't know at the time was that the re -- rescuers had to abandon rescuing me at one stage because the roof was going to fall in on them. so they got me out digging in sideways like they dig in for mining. and two very brave men stays up risking their lives to, one, to
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direct operations, and the other, the doctors told him to keep me talking if they could because i stood a better chance if he could keep me conscious. two years afterwards, his wife rang me up and said he was very seriously ill in hospital and he had asked to see me. and i went to see him and he died the next day. >> how old were you then? >> oh, gosh. i guess i was in my early 50s. >> i remember seeing a picture, tonight ask you how many it is, of how many people were killed. >> in great britain, including northern ireland, there were several thousand killed. there weren't so many in great britain but there were quite a few hundreds. it went on for a long time. >> i remember en gow, a member of parliament was killed in his driveway. >> yes. >> looking back on that, is there any letssns for americans
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looking at 9/11, thinking that this will never be over? >> well, i think you've got to have a combination of strong security, you've got to do what is best to try and frustrate the -- you need very good intelligence and some very brave men who have usually infill traited some of these organizations to find out what is going on. but at the same time political leaders have got to be able to start some sort of dialogue with the people because however evil the overall organization might be, there were some less evil people in there and some people who could be persuaded. a peaceful path is what's required. and what you mustn't do is to drive them all into the outlie. so in all of these successful things i think there have been
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some negotiations where the moderate people are gradually drawn away from the real hard-liners and you can make some progress. >> 18 years as a member of the house of common? >> yes. >> leadership positions in there include snd >> absolutely. i was a leader of the house. i was secretary of state for energy. and i was in the treasury at one time. so i had a few jobs. yes. >> you were made a lord in what year? >> it would have been 1994. >> now what does that mean now? 1992 is when i was made a lord after the general election. >> the house of lords is under -- over your shoulder there. it's a live picture. do you still go to the house of lords? >> i'm always there. it's a very nice place to be and i tend now to be involved in the committees which are mostly concerned with the administration of the place, the main political committees that do that. in fact, i had a big part in
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reorganizing the house of lords' expenses system because as you know we have some terrible trouble with the house of commons systems and we did our very best to avoid trouble in the house of lords. we didn't entirely succeed but we did fairly well. and i was chairing a committee which has a new system which i think will work. >> how many are in the house of lords? >> the truth is that over 50% of the membership was put there by mr. blair and mr. brown. the place is physically not big enough for them now. >> don't i remember that when we started covering the parliament that there were something like 1200 members? >> yes. but there were a lot of hereditary pairs who most of them didn't turn up. of the 750 or so hereditary pairs, only about 125 ever came
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regularly. the others might possibly come one day a year just so they can mark the books up and said they'd been. >> so there are no more? >> there were 100 left who were put in at the time of the legislation as a bit of a compromise but they are in effect life payers. i think the reform that all of us agree is that probably when they go, we should not have any more. under the legislation they have elections amongst themselves but that will have to change, i think. >> what does a lord make every year? >> he doesn't get a penny piece in salary. not a penny piece in salary but he does get expenses which are not unreasonable but i guess -- i guess that a member of the house of lords could turn in, including all expenses and things, maybe 50,000 a year. that sort of figure. >> in the united states, as you
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know, a member of the senate or a member of the house by and large can't do any outside work. what is the rule here? >> what is the rule here, is that you can do outside work, unless you are a member of the government. but if you're just a back-bencher like i am you can do outside work. and, indeed, the house of lords is designed, really, to encourage you to do so because we believe that the house of lords should be filled with a large number of people who have expertise in all sorts of different areas of, like, surgeons, professors, lawyers, and people who are most of the time practicing their trade, so to speak, but turning up at the house of lords to take part in the debate. some people, like me, become politicians. i'm there every day. but then i don't have that sort of expertise that these people have. >> can a member of the house of commons do outside work? >> i think they can do some but
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i think it is fairly limited now and very much has to be every penny of it has to be declared. and i think gradually they're not. and i think that's a pity, too. i do think that we are better governed by people who have at least one foot in the real world as long as we know where they are. i mean, i would not defend for a minute anybody advocating a particular cause in parliament and not making it absolutely abundantly clear where they are coming from. >> do you have a disclosure requirement on where you make your money? >> yes, you do. but you don't have to say how much you make. just show how little it is. you have to say what you do, where your interests are. >> as you know, in the press over the years you were often troferede as mr. fix-it. >> yes. >> what do you think that means? >> i got that reputation and i'm not in the slightest bit ashamed of it. i got that reputation when i was chief whip and i spent a
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great deal of my time trying to reconcile the positions between different ministers in the government where they had a contrary view as to how to proceed. often the treasury with the spending department, you needed to find some common thing. as i used to try to negotiate agreements. all with the other parties, sometimes on management matters with the house. and why i'm not proud of it is this. because if you reckon you're going to be a successful mr. fix-it, people have to trust you. and if you do a dirty deal, that lives with you forever. you have to play the game straight. and i've always tried to. and that's why i'm not ashamed of being known as mr. fix-it. >> you've done a lot of things including house of commons, house of lords. i can jump all the way to i'm sure not too great a memory,
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being on the enrod board of directors. and the press you look on today in the google you can find all kinds of articles. they suggest that you were hammered in this country because you were a member of that board. is that true? >> it wasn't a bit difficult in terms of publicity and so on at the time. but i don't think many people in britain understood the issues. the truth of the matter was that in the legal proceedings that followed, if i could sum rise them in this way. when the, as you know, the united states something goes wrong, everybody sues everybody, right left and center. we, the nonexecutive directors, set out our position. and those who were originally suing us realized that our position was a sensible position. the ones which they thought was right, and so our evidence was used against the other people.
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in other words, what the plaintiffs said we don't need to sue these nonexecutive directors. they have done their honorable best to try and sort things out. the fact is they were deceived by the management, by some of the bankers, and by some of the professional advisers. and it was the nonexecutives directors of enron were, in my opinion, the finest board i ever served on. but we were deceived. and anybody in public life who goes on these big companies has to be able to trust somebody. if you can't trust the management, you shouldn't be on the board. you are entitled to trust your professional advisers. if they aren't trust worthy, that's not very good. and, thirdly, if i may just finish that side, and thirdly you have to use your brains to ask the right questions and try
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and understand it. but if you're deceived, it's very difficult. >> when was the last time you had anything to do with enron? >> it would be about 1995, i should think. >> what's your memory of what you felt like when all this came down? >> i thought that for the eight or so years i was on the board, the first six years i thought were exhilarating and very good, and i think the company was extremely well run. and then things went wrong and they started to deceive both themselves and us. and then it was worry and eventually it all went wrong. >> are you free and clear of all legal problems? >> as far as i know. i haven't heard from anybody for years. >> so why did it happen? >> it happened because the management -- in my view, the management had thought that some of their figures weren't coming out right. they found one or two what might be called creative ways
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of keeping things going. they persuaded their auditors and lawyers that this was just about on the brink of acceptable and they persuaded some of the big bankers to give them some of the right sort of advice and the right sort of money and it was a big mistake. big, big mistake. >> what should have been chakedd in law after that in your opinion? >> i don't think there was a great deal needed to change the law. i think it just was the fact that certain people did not carry out their duties as they should have done. >> we have another clip from our interview in 199988 and this has to do with the economy . >> we have made enormous progress in the last 10 years in getting our economy back on to a reasonable basis. tremendous strides. our industry is much more effective, much more
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competitive. we have dealt with many of our industries which were extremely inefficient. as i said in the house of commons last night, in today's prices, in 1979 the taxpayer was paying 4.5 billion pounds. and just the size of our economy by 4.5 billion pounds to support industries which were belonged to the state because they were losing money. that's virtually sthopped now. so a lot more efficient. so i think we have during the course of this parliament what we've got to do is to spread that prosperity which is now widely shared by the majority of people into those areas particularly those pockets where traditionally been the home of old industries to make sure that those parts of the country get the benefits of what some of us refer to as the thatcher revolution. >> how do things look today? >> well, that was quite a long
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time ago and we have gone through a ten years of not making as much progress as we should. i think that to be fair, i think that tony blair and his people came in hoping and thinking they could do the right thing. but they -- and they held the line for a bit but gradually they spent too much money on too many schemes, and they really didn't see that they got value for money for it. so we are running now a massive financial deficit on our public accounts. and that's going to be very painful to get back and straight. and what we have to do is to persuade people it's going to be worthwhile at the end of the day and that the growth will come back into the economy. i think it will. but it will take a bit of time. >> i am sure you've watched what's happening in the united states over the last few years with the republicans basically saying no for the last four years or two years during
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barack obama's term, no to everything, on purpose and now they're about to get the house of representatives back. looking back on what happened during the blare years here, what's the difference what the tories could do when tony blair was in charge versus what the republicans can do in the united states when they weren't in charge? >> well, i think what happened in our time, we inherited -- we left for the labor government a pretty prosperous economy and they held the line for a bit and then things went radically wrong with spending. we criticized them pretty roundly at the time saying here you are, you are not mending the roof when the sun is shining and when it rains we'll all get wet weather. and that's what happened. so it's much more difficult now starting from a difficult position to get back in the economy. now, i don't know if i'm fair
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about this because i don't follow american politics that closely but there is one thing which i have noticed about politicians. and that is that if they're going to lose in the vote because they haven't got a majority, they can say some pretty outrageous things in terms of criticizing their opponents knowing that their opponents are going to get the thing through anyway and they want to be on the safe ground of criticizing so they can be ready in years to come to say well it didn't work, and that didn't work. and i suspect if they had been the other way around, the other party's the other way around, the other parties would have each said similar things. in other words, when you're in government you are faced with some pretty horrendous problems. and there's no way ducking them. you've got to try and deal with them. when you're in opposition, you can pick and choose that which will make a fuss about and that which you'll let get by. and no doubt, from where i sat, some of the major industries in
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the united states, particularly i think of the car industries and others, had built up over the years some very, very deep-seated problems which had to be resolved. i had it a little bit in the coal mining industry in this country where if i remember rightly we had nine pensioners of the coal industry for every one employee in the company. and no company can survive that sort of historical on cost and big decisions have to be taken. but oppositions sometimes criticize a bit and knowing perfectly well they might have to do some of the things themselves if they found themselves in government. >> as we look from the united states over to great britain and watch all the cuts that have been announced and then watch what has happened in our country, during the george bush years he dubbled the debt by going from $25 trillion to $10 trillion. and it's almost done that again
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during the barack obama years. but the question i have for you trying to understand is it better in a parliamentry system or in the three branches of government like we have in the united states in governing? >> well, i'm -- i'm not sure i know the answer to that. i don't know that there's all that much difference. what i do know is that i suspect that one of the developments you may well see in this country is that there will be a bit of a move, whether it will come anything or not, to remove the executive branch out of the parliamentry system because what is evident to me is that it is very difficult to have a successful political career and to have some of the expertise that is needed to be a minister in the government. for instance, it's long been
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difficult for the government of the day to find sufficiently qualified law offices to be the main legal positions in government because the really good lawyers are too busy making money in the law. they don't want to waste their time in politics. it's the same of, for example, if you need someone who really understands the developments in information technology, in i.t., to find somebody amongst the back benchers who will make a minister for that, much more difficult. so what this government has done and the last government, and i don't criticize them, they tended to put people into the lords as ministers because they had particular expertise which the parliamentry process never produced. and i think the way that will develop is more and more the executive branch will separate from the parliamentry. >> how much appointment power does the prime minister have? how many different jobs does he
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or she fill? >> he fills the virtually the whole of the government. >> how many would that be? >> about 100 appointments. >> and do all of those come from the members of the house of commons or the house of lords? >> yes. >> do they have to? >> yes. and if they're not and he particularly wants them in, he quickly puts them into the house of lords. >> what's the restraint on the number of people you can put into the house of lords? >> there is no real restraint. you would be very much criticized if you put too many in as mr. brown and mr. blair are criticized today. but there is no legal constraint. if they can have the nerve to do it they can do it. >> and how much is your appointment as a lord? >> for life. there's no -- the two categories of people in the house of lords that in my time have been on a limited tenure have been the church leaders, the bishops, they have to give up when they cease to be
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bishops, and the judges because our supreme court was part of the house of lords up until about two years ago and they have now moved out and no longer sit as members of the house of lords. >> how is the supreme court justice here appointed? >> we have an independent appointment board the lord chancellor has a bit of influence over and they are appointed by an advisory committee of people of which the senior judges have a pretty good say. >> is there any way that the public can get rid of a judge by impeaching like they do in the united states? >> i've never heard of it. i'm -- technically, i can't tell you. i'm sure there must be be a way but it hasn't happened in my lifetime. but i think the lord chancellor or the head of the judiciary, the senior judge in the supreme court would just, who schedules the appearances would make sure he doesn't get any work to do.
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>> what about the cabinet positions for the prime minister? what if people don't like a cabinet officer? is there any way to get rid of them? >> only if the prime minister wants to get rid of them. the prime minister has the total say. the only way you can get rid of them is by having a vote of no confidence in the prime minister because if the prime minister backs them you can't get rid of them. but the prime minister of course is quite sebstive to his own political position and he wouldn't support somebody who was clearly lost favor with everybody. >> based on what you know, and if you had even the opportunity, would you rather be prime minister -- forget the country involved -- the prime minister of great britain or the president of the united states when it comes to the power and iblet to get things done? >> i think the prime minister of this country has a great deal of power, more power than people realize. and whilest the president does
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have a great deal of power, the prime minister in this country skillfully operating has a great deal of power and can get most things done. some of which the president of the united states would find very difficult. >> so with all your experience, what kind of advice would you give somebody who was getting into politics, including this prime minister that you have now, as to the best way to get a job done? >> well, let me step back one stage from that. then i will answer it. i think very important thing, and i say this to many young people who are thinking of a political career. i say, look, first go and do something. demonstrate you can earn a living outside politics. you don't have to be rich but you have to be reasonably independent financially before you can really would be sensible to embark on a political career. >> stop there and tell whause you did before you got into
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politics. >> i was a certified public accountant in american terms and i started a business of my own with -- well, shall we say, 300 pounds, and when i gave up i got into politics, i had 1,000 people working for me and i had built quite a big business. >> what was the business? >> quite a lot of it was in lumber. i was also very big in distribution of tractors but in this country and overseas, and automobiles. >> what happened to that business and those thousand people? >> i had successors who took over and they have long since, i think it's all been merged into other businesses some going strong but i'm completely sept rated from it. >> i heard you had 60 directorships. >> yes. when i got into parliament and right at the beginning i had 60
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directorships but i should think about 40 of them were shell companies i had formed in my office to sel to other customers. i did have four or five pretty tough directorships but i didn't have 60. and i made my first real serious mistake on television when i was very young politician when an interviewer said to me. but surely 660 directorships is rather -- 60 directorships is rather to too many. thinking it was a joke. i said of course 60. but don't think i was in it for the money. i only got a thousand pounds from each one. >> so when you were a member of parliament of the house of commons, you could continue to be a director. >> yes. i gave up most of them except for a few. >> and can people still do that? >> i think there are some restrictions now a bit about it. and you have to declare much more than you did in my day. >> you said first things first.
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make some money before you get into politics. what's next? >> the next thing then is to learn the trade of politics. if you're going to be successful, you need to know how the system works. and you need to know how parliament works and you need to know how west minster, which is the government works. and it's useful if you know a bit about business. it's a question of judgment in very difficult circumstances. so the truth of the matter is this, and this is a lot of politicians won't say this to you. if you're in government, about 90% of all the decisions you have to make are the decisions
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which any sensible person would make in your position. there's nothing partisan about it. it's what is the sensible thing to do. and you make sure those are done effectively. there are 10% of tricky decisions where there are several courses of action. none of them is absolutely right or absolutely wrong. they are questions of judgment, questions of judgment. they're gray areas, if you'd like. and the successful politician is the one who sorts those out best and gets those right and maybe you need a bit of luck in earlier days but that's what you have to do. the palace of west minister. how long has it been there >> it's been there many years
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much has been rebuilt because there was a fire. it is still technically a royal palace. but most of it was built in the middle of the century before last. >> during your career, when have you enjoyed yourself the most over there? >> i enjoyed being chief whip in the commons the best job because you are managing the situation. most people's troubles are somebody else's troubles who come to you for help and you give them the best advice you can and you find ways of making the show work because a great deal of what went on in the house of commons and i suspect in many, there has to be consent to the process by both, obviously by the government but also by the opposition. and the rule that i worked on was this. i did not propose any
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procedural matter in the house of commons when i was the government chief whip which i would have thought was unfair if i had been the opposition chief whip. and so you seek to negotiate. they have to accept you won the election, you're the government and you're entitled to get your business. you have to accept they are the alternative government. they have a right to put their case in a proper reasonable fashion, proper time, give them plenty of opportunity to say what they have to say, but in the end a majority is entitled to get izzbits as well as a minority has a right to be heard. and that's the process. and i enjoyed doing that. >> when we talked to you in 1988 there was no television in the parliament. >> yes. >> i want to run another clip what you had to say about television. >> the house of commons has always been a noisy place. people have expressed emotion and feeling at all times and we all expect that. there are, i have some worries
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that it's getting a little bit out of hand at the moment and that's something i can discuss with you but normally it has been quite raw cuss at times, strong emotions. but the tradition is that people still get a fair hearing and it sounds actually slightly worse on the radio than it is when you're in the chamber. in the chamber the loud speaking system seems to enable you to hear the speeches thana bit better than it comes to and some people think when the television cameras come in there will be a more balanced presentation and people's understanding will be better than it is at the moment. it may of course alter people's behavior in the house and it may get worse. but that's to remain to be seen. >> can i make one comment first on 20 years ago when i said that. i have the dubious record of, as leader of the house, move the motion to expel a member
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out of the house for bad behavior. i did it more times than any other leader of the house hasr done before. i did it nine times. when there's trouble, the speaker is the one who says they must go. but it has to be on a motion. and of course two things. one was of those nine times, eight of them were pre-meditated. the member had decided the best way he could make his political point was being thrown out. and i have no complaint with that. they went and that was that. one chap lost his cool and couldn't control himself and his friends were trying to control him and i was trying to control him because i didn't want to throw him out. he just had lost his cool. but in the end i had to. and that was all as a result of really the opposition party,
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which was the labor party in those days, being extremely frustrated at having lost an election. it wasn't the house of commons in itself. it was the house of commons reflecting the political frustrations of the party that had won its election. >> when you throw somebody out, how long are they out? >> usually for five days and no pay for five days. and there we are. >> now, i had some trepidations about television coming to the house of lords and my boss mrs. thatcher had considerably more trepidations than i did but i inevably knew it was going to come. i wasn't rushing it too much because i had a boss who wasn't keen on it but i knew it would come. it's no longer an issue. it's accepted. it doesn't get a great deal of debate. they use it for good
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journalistic purposes. i don't think there's enormous number of people who watch the long programs but if there's something important they seem to do it and they do it pretty well. i don't think that there are many complaints about it being unbalanced and unfair. so those of us who were a little bit cautious about it before in a way have to admit it wasn't as bad as we thought. but those who were most passionately in favor of it will have to also admit it hasn't changed political life all that much. >> why was mrs. thatcher against it? >> i think because she felt that ings partly because she wasn't the greatest lover of the bbc and she thought it would be used in a confrontation buy ased way and disorder would be shown. as a matter of fact, there was quite an interesting episode in all of that which i wouldn't
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have dreamt of saying to you in 1988. one of the things that i was concerned about was the rules of coverage, what the television cameras were allowed to do. and i took the view that we should start with pretty tight coverage rules and as we got used to it and as the broadcasters got used to it maybe we could relax it a little bit and allow them to look around the chambers. and that is what has happened. my difficulty was, how did i persuade the labor party to go along with a tight control because some of the difficulty people were on their side who might have, if they'd been able to get the coverage, might have gin mrs. thatcher a pretty rough time. and i in the end did speak to the leadership and i said, look, if you have loose rules of coverage to start off with, actually it will reflect badly on the labor party. it may be a very successful
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short-term television confrontation, but in the long run if i judge you right you want to win the election, you want to be the prime minister, and you need to persuade the great british public that you are in a sufficient position to be a successful prime minister and i don't think you want to see the more raucous elements of your party seeming to be making all the running. i hope that had some effect on him because we had no difficulty in getting all of this agreed in the house at the time. >> well, of course as you know no one votes for a prime minister except for the constituency he or she has. so what do the polls show when people go into the polls how often do they go in thinking they're voting for david ram rn or former prime minister brown?
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>> well, of course this was the first election that we had leaders, the leaders like you do in america, we had prime ministerial candidates although the public hadn't got any right to vote for them but they had three debates. and i think they were general winly thought to be a success. and i think they will be a regular feature of future elections. but there was a great deal of difficulty about it because and mrs. thatcher would never have taken part with them. she would have been told by her advisers that you have got everything to lose and nothing to gain. you're in the lead. but this election was quite interesting, really. david cameron was very keen to have them because he was pretty certain he could outdebate
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gordon brown in the elections. others judge whether he was right or wrong. and he completely, in my view, underestimated the appeal of the liberals who was able to say, well, you two keep arguing about it but the reality is something else usually. and so the first time the liberal man was the outstanding winner of that debate and the polls went up. by the second one they got a better way of handling him and they got it right. but it was quite interesting. >> our audience had the opportunity to watch all three of those debates and was fairly impressed by the pace of them compared to ours, very fast-paced. let me show you another clip. you brought up the bbc and mrs. thatcher. here's another moment from 88. >> television is part state and part private. we have a dual system that is the bbc which is done under the
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act of the parliament. they've got a charter, and they collect the proceeds of the license fee. every television owner in this country pays about what is it, it would be about $100 a year, a license fee. and it's in effect to see the bbc. the money goes to the bbc. the rest of our channels are commercial channels and they rely upon advertising. now, with satellite coming and with cable and other advances which we have got a bit behind in, these things, the arrangements have got to be looked at again. the government has produced a white papor, really a discussion paper of really the government sees it moving because we can't go on the with the same system because there will be changes. never forecast what the queen is going to say next year but there is a good possibility in
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some people's minds that next year we'll see a major government bill changing the basis of television in this country. >> where i'm standing there's so many channels i cannot get to them all. that's happened in the last 22 years. what's happened to the power of the bbc? i know that you have to pay three times as much as you did back in those days. >> it's still quite strong but i think it is changing even though. i mean, it wasn't changing as fast as i forecast 20 years ago, but i think that, for example, the bbc is now being required first of all to maintain the license fee, not allowed to put it up by inflation, that they are having on costs that they didn't have to pay for before like the world service which was looked upon as part of our foreign office is now being paid for by the bbc. i think in the long run still
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the days of a license are probably not going to be forever. >> but how soon these things happen in britain, i don't know. and the bbc i think know that as well. of course they have got a fabulous brand name. if they were in the commercial world, worldwide they would be extremely successful. so i don't think they need worry too much about what would happen. >> you ran something, i don't know the full title. press complaints board? >> yes. press complaints commission. >> what is it, who runs it, and who controls it? >> what it was, it was -- to really absolutely, it was an attempt by the newspaper industry to demonstrate that they had set up a body to seek to raise press standards, particularly standards of invasion of privesy and inaccurate reporting and things. partly to stop either political party, whoever won the election, to bring in any
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control, statutory control of the press. and they wanted me to run it after the first chap, very nice man but hadn't made much of an impact and he retired and they wanted me there. and my task was, one, to force up the standards, if i could, by getting the public to complain about anything they thought was unfair, wrong, inaccurate, distortted, invasion of priesy, things of that sort. but we had no actual legal penalties. we couldn't find people. but what we could do is criticize them pretty heavily. and the newspapers hated that. they hated that completely. but of course it was also free to make a complaint. you never got charged nick for making a complaint. lawyers weren't involved. and we did i think raise the standards over the years. >> who paid for it? >> the newspaper industry paid for it and i was the one who as the chairman had to maintain our independence from the
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newspaper. i had to be sufficiently respected by people to say that i wasn't there, tool because we were being paid for by the newspapers and made no secret of it. >> what years did you run it? >> i ran it sen years. i guess i started in about 1995 and i went to about 1981, 1982. >> you took on someone publicly in that time period that the americans are about to meet. a guy named pierce morgan. >> yes. >> he is going to take the larry king show. >> i'm very fond of him. he's a very successful man and he will be very successful in america. but it was when i was first starting and he published photographs, i think it was the first earl spencer's wife who was walking in the grounds of a nursing home where she had gone to for a mental breakdown. >> who is earl spencer? >> he is one of our big, he is
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the brother of princess diana and he is one of our big land owners and big aristcrats of the old school. i'm an aristocrat of the new school. don't have any land but he is one of the big ones. and this was right at the heart of what we were trying to stop. that is the intrusion of somebody in hospital. and i said, this was a very serious breach of the code and it was right at the beginning of the time. so i went to rupert murdock and i said, look, in the end it's you who has to have people that you have confidence in running your show. >> he ran news of the world? >> news of the world. and rupert murdock said very famously. the conduct of this young man is unacceptable. and he shortly afterwards left. of course he went and got a better job with another newspaper. i don't think he did himself
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any harm doing it and i invited him to lutch and we had lunch doing it. there's no hard feelings. its was part of a process of trying to demonstrate that a free newspaper system did not require government intervention and laws to stop it intruding into people's privesy. >> what happened to the complaints? >> it's still going strong. there's a lady bus cam who runs it now. the person who followed me was a british ambassador in washington. and it's still going strong. it's not quite as in the center of the news. whether that's because they don't have so many complaints, i don't know, really. certainly the job i had to do was to really get the standards up sufficiently to get the government off their back. >> sitting outside from the united states looking over to great britain. here's what we see.
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we see change coming in the house of lords, change coming in the house of commons. change coming with the bbc, a lot of folks moving up to man chester. all these cuts that have been announced. explain why all this has is going on and explain what changes you think will be made in the house of commons. >> looking in my crystal ball, i think that the house of commons will successfully reduce the size of the constituency. there will probably be 50 less members of parliament so it will go down to 500, 650. there already an attempt to make the constituency a much even size so that each member will represent the same. >> now it's way out of wack in some cases. >> in some cases. and it's become sort of like the effect you would have of jery mannedering but it's
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happened by accident. and i think we will have a system that will make that much less likely to happen. >> when do you make the decision here? >> this will be done before the next elegs. >> and who will make that decision? >> the parliament will pass the act of parliament and then independent boundry. >> there will only be 600 members? >> that's right. >> and the house of lords? >> the house of lords, the house of lords has been, been being reformed for many, many years and it's very difficult to get an agreement. everybody agrees it should be reformed but nobody will agree how it should be reformed. and i will be surprised if in, when you interview me in another 20 years time you say well nothing much has happened and i would not be surprised. i think some things are going to have to happen now because the numbers are getting so big and i think -- what i think
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would be a big mistake, and here i'm not saying there aren't people the result of that in my opinion would be as follows. the best political brains in the country would go to the house of commons. the next lot would go to the european parliament. and the next slot maybe to the scottish assemblies and the london assemblies and so on. so we would have the fourth team in the house of lords. and as a revising chamber, to give wise advice to the other people who already had a go it doesn't strike me as the best to get people to do it. the way we've got now in effect is this. we try to get reasonably wise and experienced people in the house of lords. but of course they can be overruled by the commons, which
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is directly elected. now, i don't think that's a bad system. now, i think we may be able to tinker at it with the edges. i was one other job i've done in recent years, i've been chairman of the royal commission on the reform with the house of lords and ten years ago i produced a report recommending how to proceed. and i said a small element could be elected the bulk of being appointed therefore relatively wise people. but the elected people -- and this was the important part of my election was i said they should be elected for 15 years but never reelected. once they've got there they had to do their best for 15 years but they could never go back to their electorates and get reelected. because once you do that they start to do the job of the house of commons, which is the more democratic one. >> you have been chancellor of a university. >> yes. >> brune el. >> i still am. yes. >> how long?
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>> 14 years. >> and what's that job? >> that job is a -- it is a ceremonial figure head mostly but if you're interested, as i am, you can have quite a bit of influence behind the skeebs. i mean, the, in british company law it's equivalent to the chairman and the vice chancellor is the chief executive. so what i do is i attend the ceremonial occasions. i shake 3,000 hands a year of the graduates when they get their degrees. but i also spend quite a bit of time. i visit the different faculties, the different departments and i talk to the professors about their research programs and what they're doing, which they seem to enjoy me doing and i enjoy listening them. i've got past the stage when i started where i tended to hear what fine piece of research they were doing and then i would say, and what's the point
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of all that then? now they know that's going to come so they make sure that's in their presentation. >> what's the impact of the cuts that are coming on a school like yours? >> the vice chancellor says we shall manage quite well. overseas students won't be affected. we have had ten years of -- the last government has been pretty good to university. so i think they've treated universities pretty well, perhaps neglected some of the lower down schools. so i think there will be a bit of tightening and i'm sure there will be a lot of complaining but i'm not sure it will be as bad as some people are going to make out. >> i asked you earlier your favorite job in the house of commons. what's been your favorite job in your life? >> well, i think i would answer it by saying that there are moments in each of my jobs
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which i have enjoyed rather than saying this was all good. there are moments when in life you are able to help get over some problems. i suppose it's the mr. fix-it side of it. i've never been one who wanted to bang the drum and demand this and demand that. i want to understand why people got the position they got, what we can do to help them feel satisfied. in other words, when i chair the cabinet company, this is a trick i learned as a young man as when i started to do this. if there's a big debate going on, i had decided in advance how i thought the outcome would be. and the meeting was really to test my hypothesis against teved of what people said. and i tended in my remarks not to be impartial but to slightly
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going to lose. so at the end of the day, i could turn to the person who was going to lose and i could say, well, secretary of state, i have a great deal of sympathy of what you said but i think listening to the voices around the table, probably the chancellor has the better of the argument and i think way. i helped him deal with his problems of getting it through and i got a lot of satisfaction of making the system work. and i got a lot of satisfaction in politics, i got that satisfaction occasionally in universities. i certainly got it in my earlier days as a professional accountant dealing with a father-son relationship where they were at dagger's drawn at each other and you find getting a way that eck live with each other. so that's what i've enjoyed most. >> lord john wakeham we're out we've enjoyed our time with yours and we'll see you in 20
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years. >> i will look forward to it. >> nom inside the theater, the hostage used her mobile phone to call a local radio station. >> it's kind of a historic piece because we've never had the kind of material like to rival these phone calls. it gives you


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